Did Jesus actually predict this event? In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus made predictions with specific details regarding the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple (Luke 19:41–44; 21:5–24). The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple did occur in AD 70.
Now, the unbeliever may pass over these predictions as being written after the event and that these things are another thing placed into the mouth of Jesus by the writers of the Bible. Many skeptics believe that Jesus’s predictions were written after AD 70 implying via the prejudice of skepticism that this record is written by false witnesses. However, some critical scholars recognize that Jesus did make these predictions in Mark 13 where Jesus urged prayers that the destruction of Jerusalem not come in the winter when the destruction actually came in August (Mark 13:18). Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels contain this prediction, and eyewitnesses testified that Jesus said these words.
The Evidence that Jesus Predicted Jerusalem’s Destruction
To historically show that these predictions existed before AD 70, one should first look at where these predictions in detail from the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of Luke was written before Luke’s other work “Acts of the Apostles,” and this is key to knowing if Jesus’s predictions as found in Luke 19:41–44 and 21:5–24 are real. The Gospel of Luke is presented in the first sentence of Acts, which presents a review of Luke’s Gospel (Acts 1:1-4). Acts is significant because it concludes with the Apostle Paul under house arrest (Acts 28:30–31) in about AD 60–62 before his death in AD 65–66. If Acts was written after 70, then why did Luke not reveal what happened to Paul in trial and even his death? If Acts ended with Paul’s death and even Peter’s, then the dating of Acts could have been after the desolation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, but this is not the case though James’s and Stephen’s deaths are recorded. Acts ends with mentioning Paul’s house arrest lasting two years implying knowledge of Paul’s release and nothing further (28:30). Luke does not tell what happened in Paul’s trials in Rome when the rest of the book has covered Paul’s trials in detail. The fact that Acts ends without resolution concerning Paul’s trials and without mentioning his death is very important in showing that Acts was written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and so the predictions in Luke’s earlier writing of the Gospel of Luke would have been before the event of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Along with all of this, Acts presents an optimistic view of the government of Rome, which would have changed by the Neronian persecution to start in AD 64–65. This also helps affirm the existence of Jesus’ predictions prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
One more piece of evidence is that Paul who died in about AD 65–66 quotes the Gospel of Luke calling it Scripture (1 Tim 5:18; cf. Luke 10:7). Luke must have been written before Paul’s death in AD 65–66.
Details of Jesus’s Predictions
Because Luke wrote his Gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Luke presented the details of what Jesus predicted. Luke contains two passages of Jesus’s predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in Luke 19:41–44 and 21:5–24.
In Luke 19:41–44, Jesus predicted:
*The enemies of Jerusalem would build an embankment around it (19:43).
*Jerusalem would be closed in on every side (19:43).
*Jerusalem would be leveled to the ground with no stone upon stone (19:44).
In Luke 21:5–24, Jesus predicted:
*The buildings of the temple would be thrown down (21:5-6).
*People would hear of wars along with nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (21:9-10).
*There would be earthquakes, famines, and pestilences. (21:11)
*Apostles and disciples would be around at the beginning of the signs of these things, and they would even be persecuted in the persecution to come before these signs came to completion (21:12).
*Some of these disciples would die before these signs came to pass (21:16).
*Some of the disciples would see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then desolation is near (21:20).
*Many would die by sword or be taken captive unto all the nations (21:24).
*Jerusalem would be trampled underfoot by Gentiles (21:24).
History Attests the Fulfillment of Jesus’s Predictions
The Roman record written by the Jewish historian, Josephus, confirms these events. Josephus was at the capture of Jerusalem. The predictions were fulfilled that the enemies of Jerusalem would build an embankment around it (19:43), and Jerusalem would be closed in on every side (19:43). The Jewish historian, Josephus, confirmed this truth in his history (War of the Jews 6.8.1). The Temple being thrown down and made desolate is confirmed by Josephus too (War of the Jews 6.4.7; 6.5.1–2; 6.6.1; 7.1.1). Jerusalem would be leveled to the ground with not one stone upon another (19:44). The buildings of the temple would be thrown down (21:5–6). This was the greatest desolation that the world had known until this time (War of the Jews 6.10.1; 7). Josephus presents clearly that the only parts of the city left were three towers while the rest of the city and the Temple were completely leveled.
Concerning Jesus’s prediction of nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom, Josephus again presented these things (Wars of the Jews Preface 2; Book 6). This is proven thoroughly and seen in the fact of the Jewish rebellion that led to this destruction. Also interesting is that from June 68 to December 69 there was a civil war for Rome. AD 69 is known as “the Year of Four Emperors” when Rome went into civil war following the death of Nero. As a result of the instability of Rome, there were many other rebellions from Gauls, Germans, Sarmatians, Parthians, and Armenians (War of the Jews 7.4, 7). The unrest between the nations of the world at this time is very unique.
There would be earthquakes, famines, and pestilences (Luke 21:11). There was a famine during Caesar Claudius’ reign (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews 20.2.1, 3, 5,). This famine is also mentioned in the prediction by Agabus in Acts 11:28. Philostratus records earthquakes during the time period in Chios, Miletus, Samos, and Smyrna. Tacitus mentions earthquakes in Laodicea and Rome under Nero, and other earthquakes in Colossi and Hierapolis (The Annals 12, 14). The philosopher Seneca records an earthquake at Campania. Suetonius records an earthquake in Rome during the reign of Galba. Josephus writes of great earthquakes in Judea in the years just before the desolation of Jerusalem when the ground made a great noise, which earthquakes also happened during a great storm with winds, lightnings, and thunder like never heard before in Judea (Wars of the Jews 4.4.5). The famine that went along with the Roman siege of Jerusalem was also very great in that many people starved to death (Wars of the Jews 5.10.2–3; 6.9.2–4).
Now, the rest of these predictions are left confidently to implication like the taking of captives when Josephus is one himself. There are obvious deaths that would occur in such an event as recorded by Josephus. Certainly, many living in the world at this time might have thought that the world was coming to an end especially if one knew the Old Testament prophecies and, or being familiar with Jesus’s predictions.
The occurrence of these things together in predictions by Christ before the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple proves Christ, God, His Word, and His greatest institution, the Church. Though many skeptics will admit these predictions of Jesus, they also pass it off as just a lucky guess and lie saying that Jerusalem got sacked every few decades, which is not true. Josephus presented that Jerusalem had been taken five times and made desolate only once before by Nebuchadnezzar and now by Rome (Wars of the Jews 6.10.1). The destruction of Jerusalem was not something that happened every generation or every other century.
Who could possibly have predicted when Jerusalem would meet such desolation as Jerusalem in AD 70? Certainly, a person who was truly guided by supernatural knowledge would have. Jesus claimed to have such knowledge being God and Christ. What is also very interesting is the note of Eusebius, the Christian historian. Eusebius noted that all Christians were warned and escaped to Pella (History of the Church 3:5). The Gnostic Epiphanes confirmed this too. Jesus gave a warning to the disciples to warn those who are in Judea and in Jerusalem to leave (Luke 21:21). This is another amazing miracle!
YHWH and his word never comes back void,whether spoken to believers or non believers.Jesus predictions and his confirming of Daniels predictions seal the deal for most believers. Two witnesses will testify to Christ,creation and conscience,no one will be able to say I never heard,we all have some light. Sin doesn’t condemn us as guilty,but the refusal of light. If our light is as darkness,then how great is our darkness. EVEN SO,COME.
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JESUS HAD WARNED THE JEWS IN JERUSALEM ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND IT’S TEMPLE AND WHY AS WELL.
Matthew 23:37,38:O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
Now most of the Jews of their day (especially the Essenes and the Pharisees) even most Jews today were looking falsely for a Jewish Messiah to come who would restore national Israel, set up an earthly kingdom,and were surprised Jesus was talking about the destruction of the temple and the desolation of Israel next instead, Jesus rather indicated the desolation next of the Jews, Israel * and he relatedly prophesied both the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem; and they of course had expected falsely that anyway next the temple in Jerusalem would be rebuilt,and the nation of Israel would be restored which will never happen again in God ‘s plan…. Matthew 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. so they had asked , 1 “When will this happen, and 2 what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
The meaning of the term desolate is very clear, The nation of Israel , Jews next will be replaced as God’s chosen ones.. .. Acts 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take.
Chosen is never again used by God to indicate the Jews but rather only of the Christian church.
John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
In his well known prophecy about the end of the age recorded by Matthew and Luke, Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem which came to pass 40 years after his death and resurrection. The Meaning of The Number 40, this number 40 symbolizes a period of warning . The prophet Jonah powerfully warned ancient Nineveh, for forty days, that its destruction would come because of its many sins.
Reblogged this on Seeing God's Breath and commented:
This post never gets old.
whats it like in heven
The full article below argues the Wailing wall was part of the Roman Fort Antonia (the Hara mesh-Sharif) outside the city proper, and that modern reconstructions are wrong to affirm the only eyewitness accounts, including that of Josephus, were actually incorrect in allegedly being inaccurate about the scope of destruction:
“Our modern scholars and religious authorities consistently state that we cannot believe Josephus literally in his accounts concerning the important descriptions that he provides. We will discover, however, that it is the modern scholars and the religious leaders who are wrong and not Josephus. Josephus, the historian/priest, knew what he was talking about. Jerusalem and the Temple were totally destroyed and not a stone of them was left in place. The truth is, the Haram esh-Sharif was NOT the Temple Mount.” http://www.rogerswebsite.com/others/The-Temple-Mount-and-Fort-Antonio.htm
Thank you so much by presenting this solution. I will look into this study.
I know this ended 6 months ago, but I felt this needed to be said… My understanding of Jesus is that he purposefully confounds the logic of “the wise” and causes the ignorant people to “miss the forest for the trees”. I think that’s why “contradictions” exist in the Bible today. That’s also why Jesus spoke in parables. So you can walk through Jerusalem all you want and say, “Ha ha! Jesus was wrong! I found a stone on another stone!” This doesn’t hinder my faith at all that Jesus was speaking more of the proverbial forest and not the trees when he said that not one stone would be left on another. He was simply saying, “It will be super-uberly demolished.” Forget whether or not a stone or two was left on another. Sheesh…
Sorry, but I have trouble understanding what you mean in regards to my number 2. My number 2 states, “Luke 19:44 does not make exceptions for “foundation stones”.” You say that this is an assumption. To me this is plain in the text as I have repeatedly quoted. Please explain.
Thayers Lexicon on “to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations, to predict
with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining esp. to the kingdom of God
to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation
to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels
under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others
to act as a prophet, discharge the prophetic office”
Your #2 is an assumption by either party. Luke 19:44 says that the city will be “leveled” as the lexicons, commentaries, and translations affirm that the city was brought to the ground.